NTU launches first student-run satellite under programme to train space engineers

NTU launches first student-run satellite under programme to train space engineers
The VELOX-PII, NTU's first student-built satellite, launched last Thursday, Nov 21, 2013, from the Yasny Launch Base in Orenburg, Russia. It is now orbiting some 600km above Earth.

SINGAPORE - The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has launched its first student-built satellite under a programme to train engineers for Singapore's space industry.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Here is the full statement from NTU:

Singapore now has a second satellite - both built by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - orbiting in space.

Wholly designed and built by NTU students, this latest satellite lifted off on board Russia's RS-20B rocket (Dnepr) at 3.10pm, Singapore time (7.10am Co-ordinated Universal Time, UTC) on Thursday, 21 November 2013. All systems are functioning well.

Launched from the Yasny Launch Base located in the Orenburg Region, Russia, the VELOX-PII is NTU's second satellite in space. Singapore's first locally-built satellite, the X-SAT, developed by NTU and DSO National Laboratories, was launched into space on 20 April 2011.

NTU has also built a new ground station on campus to control and monitor VELOX-PII for the next 12 months of its operating life. NTU's ground station has successfully contacted the satellite on Thursday, 21 November 2013 from 10.41pm to 10.54pm, Singapore time. In addition, VELOX-PII successfully transmitted data to NTU's ground station on Friday, 22 November 2013 from 12.18am to 12:30am, Singapore, indicating that the satellite is now fully operational.

The VELOX-PII, classified as a pico-satellite (a satellite that weighs around 1 kg), is now soaring some 600 kilometres above Earth, on an orbital plane that has a fixed orientation with the sun or what is known as a sun-synchronous low-Earth-orbit.

The 1.33 kg VELOX-PII is developed under NTU's Undergraduate Satellite Programme, a multi-disciplinary hands-on space project for students. The objective is to train highly-skilled engineers to support Singapore's space industry.

NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson, said: "I am pleased that our engineering students have done us proud with the successful launch of VELOX-PII. This proves that they have the aptitude and attitude to successfully apply what they have learnt in the sophisticated area of satellite-building. It is also a fantastic showcase of NTU's strengths in research and engineering which augurs well for the future of Singapore's aerospace and space industry.

"We are confident that this remarkable satellite project will spur greater academic interest in engineering research and development among undergraduates. We will continue to nurture young talents under our revolutionary undergraduate research programme where students can design and build satellites together with our experienced faculty. In addition, we remain committed to push the frontiers in satellite research and further accelerate the commercialisation of made-in-NTU satellite technologies."

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